Skip to main content

Finding Your Musical Voice

The concept of finding your musical voice has recently "clicked" with me.  I've heard the term countless times over the course of my musical career but the meaning never fully registered with me.  I always thought of it like it was some sort of artsy saying.  Like you have to soul-search so you can communicate your artistic interpretation of a piece.

I never had an artistic interpretation of any piece.  I'm not that type of person.  I enjoy playing music, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out a piece, I love the bond I feel when I play with other people... but interpretation?  Not so much.

Through a fortuitous combination of events (teacher training, parent meeting and what students are currently working on) I began to really think about this musical voice thing.  It suddenly dawned on me that the thing I was missing about the saying was what the word "voice" meant.  I was so fixated on the ideal of "musical" that I ignored "voice."

It's your voice.

When you talk to others you are connected to your voice.  A baby learns their mother tongue and spends quite some time making gibberish sounds in an effort to imitate what they hear.

So finding your musical voice is really not about discovering the hidden meaning behind a piece.  It's about making a connection between you and the instrument.  The instrument is becoming your second voice.

This is no easy task because it takes years for that connection to form.  The beginning music student is playing, for lack of a better word, gibberish.  They hear a piece, they know the sounds in their head, but they lack the ability to convey their ideas.  They're not fluent.  They have no idea if putting a finger in a certain place will produce the desired sound.

This is a frustrating thing to learn because there's really no timetable.  A child learns to speak when he learns to speak.  Same with an instrument.  The only way to see results is patience and persistence from the teacher.


Popular posts from this blog

Principles of Sowing and Reaping for the Suzuki Parent: 5 Steps to Beginning Suzuki Success by Preparing the Soil

Last school year, I started a group of 4-5 year old students in a pre-twinkle cello class. One mother actively ignited her daughter Ella’s interest in the cello before enrolling in the program. Over the course of a few months, she helped Ella prepare to engage in a new learning process. They observed lessons, listened to cello music, talked about the cello, and actively built Ella’s excitement - all before starting lessons.

This experience allowed me to see how much a parent can cultivate their child’s interest, motivation, and readiness. It gave me a new appreciation for the parents’ role in preparing young children for a positive Suzuki experience.

Here are five ways to prepare the soil to help your child succeed in a Suzuki experience.

1. Build Your Knowledge

Parents are integral to the success of the Suzuki process. If you start a young child in a Suzuki program, your role as a parent will be very active. Your knowledge and education about the Suzuki method and philosophy helps y…

The Private Teaching Business Model

Over my years of teaching I've come across a wide variety of interpretations about the private teaching business model.  I feel that this is a natural result of the type of society we live in.  Many services these days are either "subscriptions" or "appointments."  For example, a gym membership is a subscription.  You pay a monthly fee to use the facility at any time during their hours of operation.  A doctor's visit or a haircut is an "appointment."  You call ahead to set up a time, you show up and then pay after the services have concluded.

With most services falling into one of these two categories, most people try to rationalize music lessons as one or the other.  However, music lessons are neither subscriptions or appointments.  They are actually a combination of both if the business entity is going to be successful.

The reasons why this hybrid business model occurs are:

1)  The service itself is centered around personal attention (appointmen…

Martial Arts and Music

I remember a few years ago I was having a conversation with one of my adult students about martial arts and music.  I always looked forward to my conversations with this student because she happened to be a fabulous Montessori teacher and founded what ended up being one of the biggest Montessori schools here in San Diego.  So she was this wealth of knowledge and it was such a privilege for me to be able to "pick her brain" from time to time.

Going back to the conversation, she observed that music and martial arts work really well together because they both required the same type of focus.  I have practiced martial arts for almost ten years so this is an opinion I have had for a long time but it surprised me to hear it coming from someone else.

Both music and martial arts revolve around the idea of a focused body and mind.  Teaching an extremely young student how to keep their instrument in place for one Twinkle is more mental training rather than physical.  Holding a light …